…And Be The Person People Want To Work With.
Yes, how you present yourself is important because you don’t want to be the person who gets put on the “life’s too short to work with that asshole” list.
Always put your best foot forward – and that doesn’t start with your script. That starts with you. Some things to remember:
A) Don’t ever be a jerk to anyone. Today’s receptionist will be tomorrow’s manager. The person you meet at the festival today could possibly open a door for you tomorrow. You want to be the person others want to work with. Not the person others run away from because they’re difficult to be around.
B) The first impression a potential representative might have of you may be your query letter. Make sure it’s short and snazzy. It should also be engaging and typo-free. It needs to sell you and your project without resorting to hyperbole or narcissism. Remember, no what cares what you think about your script – you need independent, third-party validation. That can come in the form of quoting coverage or a producer or contest results – basically, anything except you.
Most importantly, it should convey your writing voice. What is your special sauce, writing-wise? Are you a smart-aleck who can turn a phrase? Do you write textured, introspective character drama? Do you have in-depth knowledge on a cool, esoteric subject? Get that across in a paragraph – and remember: keep it short and sweet.
C) Remember the people you meet. In the olden days, there were these things called Rolodexes, where you could jot down details a person told you about themselves (their dog’s name, their hometown) and they’d be pleased if you remembered next time you met them. Yes, there’s an app for that nowadays.
But jeez, don’t be stalkery about it. This should go without saying, right? If you come at some manager and start quoting verbatim from their Wikipedia page, you may well “open mouth, insert foot.”
In short: aim for professional, personable and easy-to-work with, and build your database. The more people out there who have a positive impression of you, the more plays you may have with a new piece of material. Even if you don’t know a single person now, after five years you may well have a growing list of contacts who may take your call or be willing to send an email on your behalf.
And that, friends, is How It Is Done.
Oh yeah, and be talented, too. 🙂